The Strong and Elegant Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren is a medium-size dog belonging to the Herding dog group, which means that it was once intended to be trained to herd sheep. However, because of the elegant coat of the Belgian Tervuren, it has rather been bred to be a show dog over the years. Because it is genetically a herding dog, the Belgian Tervuren is an intelligent and energetic breed, and these traits are often seen when they participate in dog agility competitions. In addition, this breed is very loyal to their owners and willing to be watchdogs because of their obedience and attentiveness. For this article, we are going to take a closer look at Belgian Tervuren and see its origins, its characteristics, and the proper care for this dog breed.

Origins of Belgian Tervuren

The Belgian Tervuren first appeared in the dog scene during the 1800s, when it was bred from two dogs owned by Belgian breeder M.F. Corbeel. The two dogs are both fawn-colored, and they gave birth to a female Tervuren, who Corbeel named Miss, the first of its breed. Miss then gave birth to a male named Milsart, and this dog won the first show champion for the Tervuren in 1907.

This breed became quite popular amongst dog breeders in the late 1890s, and its popularity prompted dog breed regulators to set a breed standard for the Tervuren. In 1891, the club of Belgian Shepherd dog enthusiasts called Club du Chien de Berger Belge started differentiating different types of Belgian Shepherd dogs, who were first believed to be only one breed. The club decided to create four kinds of Shepherd dog, and these are the Malinois, the Groenendael, the Laekenois, and the Tervuren. According to the club, the Tervuren’s name was derived from the town of the same name where the creator of the breed, Corbeel, resided.

During World War I, Belgian Tervuren dogs were used as police guards, messenger, and even assistants to nurses at Red Cross. Because the dogs are strong, they were tasked to push or pull carts of weapons as well. It was during this period where people from all over the world saw the loyalty and obedience of the breed, and soon after the war, many breeders started taking care of their own Tervuren dogs.Today, not only do they serve as pets at home, but they also work as police (K-9) or military dogs.

Characteristics of Belgian Tervuren


Height: 24-26 inches

Weight: 44-55 pounds

Life Expectancy: 10-12 years

Hypoallergenic: No

The Belgian Tervuren is medium-sized and has a fairly strong build. It is most notable for its thick double coat that goes from a darker color at the face to a much lighter shade at its feet. However, overlays of black or darker brown can also be seen in other parts of its body besides its face. Although they are generally brown or fawn in color, they can also have gray fur, but the latter shade is often penalized in shows since it is its recessive color.

In terms of its temperament, it is very energetic, which means that it will have a hard time staying firm in one place at home. However, they are also very obedient, so the owner can easily stop the Belgian Tervuren if ever it is doing something wrong. If they are not trained to be obedient, they will most likely grow up to be hyperactive. In addition, since they are loyal to their owners, they tend to get shy around strangers. Because of their shyness, they tend to be nervous whenever there is a change in their environment, such as having strangers at home or moving furniture around. To remove their shyness, owners should allow their Tervuren to meet new people every now and then.

Caring for Belgian Tervuren

Even though they have a strong build when they are healthy, most Tervuren dogs are prone to have hyp dysplasia, which is a condition where the hip socket doesn’t cover the upper ball of the thighbone, thus creating a partial dislocation on the hip joint. Besides the said condition, the Belgian Tervuren is also susceptible to gastric issues if they don’t have a balanced diet. These problems with their health can be prevented through regular check-up with your local veterinarian, who may also give you tips on how to take good care of your Tervuren.

For grooming, the Tervuren has a thick coat that prevents them from being suitable pets for those with allergies. They can shed from time to time, and they may also produce hairballs. The excessive shedding can be controlled by grooming the dog at least once or twice a week to remove the loose undercoat on its fur. However, unline high-maintenance dogs where you would need to keep an eye on its fur constantly, Belgian Tervuren is a breed that doesn’t need a lot of grooming for shows since it already has healthy skin and fur if it is eating properly and is free from stress or anxiety.